DISCLAIMER: This is a love story about two consenting female adults. Can't handle it, don't like it, don't read it. We're just borrowing Dick Wolf's characters for fun; we aren't making any money from it.
AUTHOR' NOTE: When two writing heads get together in a round robin...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It's Gotta Be Love
By Katherine Quinn & Adrienne Lee

1501 REACH

"Come here," I call to you, sticking my hand out of the blanket to wave at you.

You look at me suspiciously. "What for?"

"Just come over here."

"I don't want your apologies."

"I wasn't going to apologize," I repeat my earlier sentiment.

"Then what?" You ask, shoving your fists into your pockets.

"Just come here."

With a sigh and showing great reluctance, you walk towards me, stopping before you reach the bed.

With one hand, I hold the blanket around my shoulders, and catch your arm with the other. "Come here," I say, pulling at your sleeve. "Sit."

"We should go downstairs."

I shake my head. "It's Christmas."


"We shouldn't be fighting."

"I'm not aware that we were, at least not exactly."

"We raised our voices at each other," I remind you.

You shrug. "We really should go. Everyone's waiting."

"Let them."


Slowly, I run the tips of my fingers along your lips. "You're right. I was being silly… It's just that I, I…"


I close my eyes, and sigh. "I suppose it's kind of funny, considering what just happened, with my mom. You see, I walked in on my parents, when I was twelve."


"They were really going at it, you know, right in the middle… No covers. Nothing."

You wince. "That must've been awful."

"Yeah, my mom threw my dad off of her, and he landed on the floor. Face down."


"Yeah." I lean in closer, and lick my lips. "It was just really embarrassing, and, well, anyway." I decide not to explain further. "At least I didn't kick you off," I tell you, against your mouth.

To my surprise, you don't back away, not that I would've let you. "Sure, you just pulled the blankets off of me," you argue, tentatively letting me kiss you.

"It's not like you were naked. You had your underwear on," I remind you, while opening my cocoon, and drawing you in…

1502 Claimed

You ask me to come to you, and I pause.

I know we should go downstairs. I know we should. If we talk about this much more, I'll explode at you, and I don't want to. It's Christmas.

"Alex, let's just go downstairs."

"No, come here." You demand, your hand reaches out for mine.

Reluctantly I slide towards you, giving you my hand. You pull my arm, forcing me to sit down.

"But," I gasp, as you slide your hand up my torso under my shirt and take my breast into your hand. You pull me into the covers, into your small cocoon. You pull me in and run your hands along my exposed skin.

"But nothing. You're right," you say, with another kiss.

"But… we should go…" I say, trying to push you back.

"They'll wait," you say again, and I hear myself whimper as you tease me.

"But, Alex, you…" I interrupt you, not sure if you really mean what you're saying.

"I want this." You say.

"But you didn't…"

"I didn't know what I wanted." You explain, without more words.

"But Alex."

"You're right. This is beautiful." You say, with a deeper kiss.


"This is an extension of our love."

"It…" I breathe.

"I love you, Olivia."

"I love…"

"Merry Christmas." You whisper.


By the time we showered and get dressed, breakfast is served and over with. I'm surprised my mom didn't come up to knock on our door. In fact, everyone just greets us good morning, and acts as if we had just come in from a morning jog, and not directly from my bedroom.

"Here." Mom hands us our coffee. "You'll need this," she says as she pours milk into our cups. I guess that's our sustenance until lunchtime.

Somehow I feel like we're being punished for something.

I'm not sure what though.

"Thanks," I mumble. Can't help but notice the glint of laughter in her eyes when she looks away and directs her attention at someone else.

Almost shyly, I grab your fingers. At least you're smiling now.

And so am I, I'm sure.

My family's probably slowly dying of glucose poisoning from the way we're looking at each other. It's amazing what a little 'togetherness' can do.

What was I thinking?

"So what did you get me?" You whisper into my ear.

"You'll find out soon enough." I laugh.

"No, I mean upstairs." You smile at my cousin who's waving for your attention from across the room. "What's in that box?"

"Something you'll like, I think. I'm pretty sure."

"Something you…"

"Shh…" I hush, hiding behind my large mug. "Behave."

"I am behaving. I could've…"

"Shh… I know, I know what you could've done."

1504 Caught

We keep staring at each other; deep meaningful looks that speak volumes. I feel almost silly; childish, watching you with so much pride, so much love. I can feel the goofy grin on my face, knowing that here, it doesn't matter. Everything you do makes me smile, and you sit next to me on the couch, resting your head against my shoulder while your mom flits around the room tending to your relatives.

Trevor slimes his way towards us, sitting on the other side of you. He looks at you and snickers.

"What?" You ask him.

"You two are disgusting." He says, whispering.

"Hmm?" You ask him, kissing me gently on the cheek before turning back to him with a smile on your face.

"Late morning?" He asks, with a laugh.

"Jealous?" You ask him, with a sly smile.

"No, I don't think your wife and I would get along."

"You're right." I say, squeezing your hand in mine.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch your mom walking towards us. Suddenly, I feel very exposed. She smiles at both of us quite graciously, "Can I talk to you?" She asks you, and your smile fades as your face starts to lose color.

"Sure mom," you stutter. I can feel you squeezing my hand, as you start to stand up.

"You too, darling," she says looking at me. "In the other room."

I swallow hard, suddenly feeling my heart beating. It's been years since I've been called to task by a mother.

She pulls us into the kitchen, turning and smiling.

"I just want to say," she starts.

"Mom, um, we're sorry. We didn't…" you start stammering.

"Alex, sweetie. I just wanted to say that I was sorry for interrupting. And I want you to know that I'm not embarrassed by what I witnessed, and I hope you weren't either."

"Umm, no." You whisper.

"Good, because I would hate to think that I had raised a daughter who would be embarrassed for expressing her love in such a wonderful way."

"You didn't." You stammer again. "Not at all."

1505 TASK

"Really, you weren't embarrassed?" Mom asks again, watching both of us.

I find it hard to meet her gaze, considering. It's one thing to bluff a jury, or a defense attorney, it's another to lie to one's mother. Besides, my reaction upstairs spoke for itself.

"Because," she continues, "We never talked about the time when you walked in on your father and me."

"Mom!" I protest. Then I add quietly, quickly. "That was so long ago."

"Yes, but."

I don't let her finish. "If you weren't, um, embarrassed, why did you push dad off?"

"Because, darling, you looked so horrified, my first response was to go after you. I didn't really mean to push your father onto the floor, not like that. If you didn't run out and slammed the door, you would've seen…"

"I had already seen too much, mom."

"You know, my dear, if you hadn't reacted the way you did earlier, I would have seen less."

"But you knew…"

"Sure I did. I gave birth to two children, one would hope I know what goes on in the bedroom."

Must she rub it in? I see the amusement in her eyes, but there's also something else. Concern? For what? Is she going to tell me about her sex life with Ted now? If so, I don't wanna hear it. Don't wanna. Don't wanna!

"Alexandra," she sighs my name.

"Yes, mother?"

"That's just a part of life. It's perfectly natural between two people who love each other."

Okay… "I know, mom, you don't need to tell me again how the birds and the bees pollinate the flowers, I already know."

"Ah, yes, but you need to know how to handle certain situations. For instance, screaming and clutching at the blankets may be misconstrued."


"That you're ashamed of your love for each other."

What? "I'm not ashamed of us," I tell my mom, while taking your hand and pulling you near. "I just wasn't expecting, you know, that's all. Why are we having this discussion, mother?"


"Because what?"

"Just in case someone were to walk in on you in the future?"

"Don't worry," I say with a laugh. "Trevor's already done that."

"I'm not talking about your brother."

"Then whom, mom?" I can't help but turn to you, to see if you're as confused as I am…

1506 Shock

From the time your mother leads us into the kitchen, I can see the nervousness seethe from your body. It's a side of you I'm not used to, watching as you fidget as she informs you that you shouldn't be embarrassed, and while you lie and say you weren't. She says all the even level headed things I said.

I wonder how much of your reaction was shame. I mean, besides the shock of your mother intruding in on what was a uniquely personal moment, how much of your scream was because you were embarrassed? How much of it was because you wish you were more like everyone else?

I comfort myself knowing somehow that even if I were a man, you would have screamed. I hope you would have at least; it's easier for me to believe that your problem lies in the sex aspect and not in our genders and love.

You shift your weight between your feet when your mother reminds you of the time you walked in on them. I never did that; caught my mother with anyone she was intimate with. She used me as an excuse to keep men at a distance, and nothing was as close to her as a bottle of booze.

You reach for my hands and pull me into you, taking me closer, you defend our love.

Your mother looks at both of us meaningfully, but more at you when she says that we might have others walk in on us.

Your quick quip that Trevor has already walked in on us is lost on her. She looks even more meaningfully at me.

For only a second do I miss her meaning. I can feel my own discomfort grow. She just suggested…I can't believe she just suggested that.

I want to explain to her all the things I had originally explained to you. That my genes are flawed and that I don't want to pass onto a child the things that have plagued me. I want to explain to her that all the reasons I never wanted children had always to do with the ways I felt about myself.

You look at me helplessly, and I look at her with shock.

I can see what she said processing behind your eyes; you're becoming more aware of what she just suggested.

"We're not having kids." You say slowly.

"I wouldn't rule it out entirely," she says. "Those are the things you have to talk about. To think about."

"We're pretty sure," you say, with an unmistakable sadness.

Your mother just smiles at us.

I wonder how she knows.


When my mom doesn't say anything else, I feel necessary to defend our decision. "We have talked about it."

"Really? When?"

"I, um, I can't remember." In truth, I can't. I try not to remember things that upsets me. I'm sure in a few years, likewise, I'd forgot all about your bout of amnesia.

"Maybe you should have another discussion. I'm not talking about going out and getting pregnant right away, I'm merely suggesting that you consider the possibilities."

"Mother." I hold your hand, and keep you near, letting you know that I don't blame you for your reasons for not wanting children. Meanwhile, I provide my own. "We barely have time for ourselves."

"You can and you will make adjustments. You'll want to when you have a…"

"Adjustments, how?" I cut her off. "We both have demanding jobs. Just the other week, Liv worked 30 hours straight, and I had to be on call. How are we going to take care of a baby?"

"You have means."

"Daycare? Live in nanny? With what we see everyday, I'm not sure I'd trust anyone."

"You have me."


"After Ted and I marry, I'll be moving back into the city." She explains patiently. "Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to take care of my grandchild, or grandchildren."

"I seriously doubt you'll…"

"Just think about it, darlings," she says, effectively dismissing whatever else I might have to say. "You both have really good genes that deserve to be passed on."

Knowing how you feel, and how you usually react to things of that nature, I'm proud that you didn't offer any sarcastic comments, or even as much as a snort.

"Mrs. Cabot, mom," you start to say. "I'm not sure my genes…"

"Nonsense, my dear," mom shuts you up with a gracious smile. "You're a caring, intelligent, beautiful woman. Sure, maybe alcoholism runs in your genes, but whether it manifests itself has a lot to do with how you raise the child."

Well, she's taking the words right out of my mouth there. Still, even if you change your mind about kids, I'm not sure how I feel about it now. Everything I said earlier, all the reasons I gave my mom, they're valid. And I can rattle off a few more.

"Besides, if I thought like you back then, there'll be no Alexandra now." She tells you, and pats you on the shoulder. "Think about that," she says, and grabs the next tray of snacks.

Without waiting, I turn to you, and point to the remaining platters. "You want to take that one? And I'll get this?"

1508 Review

I watch you as we step back into the room full of relatives. You smile a hurt smile, and I watch you, wondering what's going on in your head.

Do you really want kids?

You were the one who brought it up. You were the one who was so hurt when I turned you down. And that was so long ago, and you've never brought it up again. I never asked you about it, not wanting to rehash old wounds, but they were something, that was something that you had really wanted.

Your mother's right.

We could have kids.

We would find time to raise them. We would make sure that they were loved and taken care of, and I would make sure that I never made the same mistakes that my mother had made with me.

And my genes are one thing, but the environment is another, right?

Do you think that's a good idea?

Were your arguments real, or something to save me from feeling guilty for a decision I made a lifetime ago?

I was surprised then, surprised that it was me you wanted to see pregnant. Maybe if that wasn't the case. Maybe if it were you, your baby, I could feel differently.

Maybe I already do feel differently.

I see Elliot sometimes, with his kids. The way they love him, the way they hold him and call him at night to tell him goodnight.

I could want that.

But then I also see his guilt that he's working for the twentieth straight hour, trying to help someone else's kid when he's missing one of his girl's soccer games, or his son's baseball.

But the love?

He wouldn't trade those kids for the world.

Maybe I should think about rethinking my position.


Back in the room full of relatives, I smile and make a point to talk to everyone, Trevor, all my cousins, even Ted. I am aware of mom watching both of us. I'm too aware of your introspection.

What are you thinking now?

Are you really considering what my mom said?

You've changed since we had our first and only discussion about kids; and so much has happened since then. But do they make that great a difference? That you would change your mind?

I can't say I'm sure.

And really, I'd rather not think about it.

Finally, you smile, and try to catch my eye. My automatic response is to look away. Then I make myself turn back, to smile at you, to show you I wasn't intentionally trying to avoid you.

I was, I am, only trying to avoid thinking too much about something that's moot. No sense agonizing over decisions we've already made. I have you; we have each other. We don't need little Olivia's or Alex's to prove our love, or distract us from each other.

Besides, if mom wants grandchildren, she can bug Trevor about them. I wonder now that his dad's divorcing the bimbo, if they'll hook up again.

I was about to ask him about his latest exploits when I feel a tap on my shoulder. "Hi," I smile up at you, and accept your kiss on my cheek.

"Joining us?" I ask, moving closer to the arm of the seat to make space for you.

Trevor makes a face and points to the nearby empty chair. "Why can't you sit over there?"

"You're just jealous," I repeat my earlier comment and smirk.

"You two need to get a room."

"We're not doing anything."

"Oh?" He leers. "So why did mom want to talk to you. What kind of trouble are you in now?"

"Just kiss my ass."

"No thanks. I'm sure she does a better job," he says, flicking his thumb at you.

What is it about siblings that almost every conversation deteriorates into playground fights? I'm about to say something nasty when you nuzzle my ear.

"Can I talk to you?" You ask with a smile.

Why? "Can it wait?" I reply with a warm smile of my own. "It's almost time for presents."

1510 Beginning

I decide to tell you; tell you that I want to rethink the decision we made. Not necessarily decide even to have kids, but to have another talk about it sometime.

I slide next to you and kiss you, watching Trevor as he turns a shade of green. Jealousy doesn't suit him, and with a quick quip, he's right back to picking on you with the same vigor with which you attack him.

I whisper in your ear that I want to talk to you; something makes me want to tell you about my new epiphany right now, that I might possibly consider rethinking my position.

Instead, you smile and tell me to wait, the presents are coming.

I smile back. You're right. This can wait. It's something we shouldn't rush.

You're eyes are shining, a beautiful sparkling blue, as you mock Trevor who makes crude comments about why we were late to breakfast.

"What'd you get me?" you whisper, taking my hand into yours and twining our fingers together.

"I'm not telling," I smile. "So how does this work?"

"Mom directs," You whisper. "Just watch."

I sit back and sure enough, your mother starts the proceedings, directing who gets which package, and starts handing things out to each of us. Both of us have packages shoved into our hands.

"What's this?" I ask you with a whisper.

"I'll find out in a minute," you say.

"Is it from you?"

"No, Mom." You whisper back.

"What'd she get me?" I ask.

"How am I supposed to know?"

"I thought you talked about these things." I whisper back.

"You'll have to open it and see," you whisper back again.

Slowly I peel back the paper…


I guess whatever it was that you were going to talk to me about could wait. Part of me is disappointed, the other part relieved.

Yes, we've made our decision, and no, we're not going to have kids, ever. I know that. I don't need you to tell me again why it's a bad idea.

It is a bad idea. Isn't it?

Anyway, it's Christmas. I should stop thinking about this and enjoy the occasion.

After all, this is our first Christmas together as a married couple.

I wonder what you got me. And I pull your hand into my lap, and trace my fingers along yours, and I ask you. Only to have you tell me that I'll have to wait.

I hate waiting.

Christmas should be about sitting around a tree, and ripping into packages and discovering presents. Not some sort of disassembly line where everyone gets whatever according to the foreperson's whim. I think that's one thing I'd do differently if we had kids.

If we had kids.

There you go again, Cabot. Quit thinking about it, will you?

Luckily, Trevor hands me a box and tells me it's mine. From mom.

Huh. Apparently, your first one's from her too.

I wonder if you see the significance in that.

My mom wants you to open her present first. Meaning, she wants to know how you like your present now, that she doesn't want to wait to show you how special you are in her eyes. She's never done that for any of the people he brought back. Nnah, nnah nnah. I catch his attention and grin.

He scowls, and carefully tears into his present from his dad.

I wonder what he got him, not that I really care.

I wonder what mom got you.

But most of all, I want to know what you got me! You've been acting all secretive every time I ask…

1512 Family

I start to rip off the paper when you scold me.

"You have to open the card first." You whisper.

"Why?" I whine, my fingers already having made promise in the wrapping.

"The rules," you shrug as you open yours.

I slide the card off the top of the box. Who puts cards on Christmas presents? Cards are for birthdays, and putting money in. Not for putting on Christmas presents.

I open it, and slide it out. I open it and read your mother's scrawl, thanking me for loving her daughter and making her so happy. She writes that she wants me to feel welcomed, and that what's in the box is something from Cabot history, something she wants me to have to know that I'm a full fledged Cabot.

I can feel tears starting at the corners of my eyes.

I slip my finger into the paper now, and slowly, extract a small delicate music box.

You stop pulling your paper off and gasp.


"She gave you that?" Trevor asks with shock.

"What?" I ask, wanting more of the story.

"That was my great grandmother's," you say grabbing it out of my hand, and turning it over. "Yeah, look," you show Trevor.

"She loves that thing," Trevor says with a gasp.

At that moment, your mother makes her appearance, taking the music box from you and putting it into my hand.

"I can't take this." I tell her, holding my hand out for her to take it back.

"I want you to have it dear. Welcome to the family." She says, pulling me into a hug. "You've been good for her, you've made her happy." She says, staring me in the eye and smiling.

I feel myself blushing, looking away. You stand up behind me and put your hand on my shoulder. "My turn," you say, as you give me a quick kiss, "but I want to open Liv's first."


"I want to open Liv's present first," I announce to my mom.

"Alex!" Trevor gasps.

Mom looks at me. For a moment I thought she would scold me or something for breaking tradition. Then she smiles. "It would please me very much if you'd open this first," she says, pointing at the box in my seat. "Then you can see what Olivia got you."

I really would like to open your gifts, but then I see the look in my mother's eyes. And I really don't want to disappoint her.

"All right," I say, picking up the small box. I peel open the wrapping paper, carefully, just as she would expect.

"Mom!" Trevor squeals when I open the box.

"Oh, wow," I breathe. "Mom…"

"I thought you were going to let me have it, for when I marry," he whines. "So I can give to my wife?"

"There are many more things in the family," she tells him.

"But this is your favorite piece of jewelry, mom," I protest, remembering all the times I watched my mother sitting in front of the vanity, carefully putting it on, preparing herself for a night out with dad.

"Do you like it?" She asks.

"Of course I love it. I've always wanted it!" I give my mom a big hug and we exchange kisses. Then I turn to you, hand you the necklace and lift my hair. "Will you help me put it on?"

You oblige, looking at it closely for the first time. "It's gorgeous, sweetie."

I smile proudly. Guess she finally thinks I'm grown up enough to take care of such a precious gift. "Thanks, mom. I promise I'll take very good care of it."

"I'm sure you will. Merry Christmas, my Dear." She kisses me again, and reaches over to pat Trevor on the head. "I promise," she tells him, "You're getting something very special from me, too."

He pouts and focuses his attention on his present from his dad.

If I were at better person, I would've said something to console my brother. Oh well, too bad. I'm not sure why he thinks mom would risk the jewelry leaving the family. Besides, it's not like he's a Cabot. Anyway, I ignore his disappointment, and take your hand. "Come on, let's go find our presents for each other," I whisper, and pull you towards the tree…

1514 Anticipation

"I didn't think we were allowed to do this," I laugh, as you pull me towards the tree.

"We're not," you whisper back as you take my fingers into yours.

I follow you over an obstacle course of relatives, all whom are opening presents and congratulating each other on their choices.

"There are so many," I say with a mixture of shock and awe. Christmases in my house were never like this. I was lucky if we had a tree, let alone one as beautiful as the one in front of us.

"It wasn't like this for you, was it?"

I just shake my head.

"Did you even have a tree?"

"Sometimes." I say, not wanting to change the subject from the happy excitement.

You look at the pile under the tree unfazed. I'm sure Christmases were always like this for you. Your holiday has always been an assembly line of presents destroyed by a room full of relatives.

You sit down in front of the tree and start moving boxes around until you unearth the boxes we brought for each other. You hand me yours and I watch as you take the one I got you.

"You sure you don't want to tell me what it is?"

"You're about to open it," I smile.

"But I don't like surprises," you say with a smile.

You take a deep breath, and gesture for me to unwrap what's in my hands.

To tease you, I pick up the box and shake it.

"It doesn't bark so it's not a puppy."

"You and the puppies."

I slip my finger under the bright silver wrapping paper and slide it off…


I watch you slip your finger under the wrapping paper, and I almost make you stop. Maybe you shouldn't open this one first.

Maybe you'll like the other present I got you better.

What if you don't like either.

Why am I so nervous?

It's not like we haven't exchanged gifts before…

And it's not like I got you a snow blower or something equally unromantic.

Although this is not very romantic either. More practical. But it seemed romantic when I bought it, for the reason behind it…

"Well?" I ask you as you pull the box lid open. "What do you think?"

"It's nice; I love it," you say with a smile, as you run your fingers through the buttery skin.

I take a deep breath, and try not to imagine my own fingers doing the same thing. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, definitely."

"You going to try it on?"

You glance around self-consciously, to see if anyone is watching us. Satisfied that they're engrossed in their own presents, you slide the jacket over your shoulders. "How do I look?"

"You really like it?"

"How do I look?" You ask again.

"Good," I say, clearing my throat. "Really hot," I add in a whisper.

You laugh. "You just like me in leather," you reply with a teasing grin.

"Well, yeah. But it's not just for that reason," I explain, despite the blush creeping up my face. "I want you to think of me when I'm not around."

"Oh, sweetie, you're always on my mind. Every time a case comes up, I think about you getting a warrant. And when we actually catch the perp, I remember I have to call you in, so you can observe…"

"Liv!" I swat you. "You know that's not what I meant."


"It's like I'm keeping you warm even when we're apart?"

1516 Theme

"Oh, yeah, like you're keeping me warm," I smile.

You're funny like that. I think of you all the time, I'm only teasing you about that it's only work related. I don't need a jacket to remind myself that you're with me. You're in my heart.

Jesus. Did I just think that?

You're turning me into a sap. But then again, I think I turned into one a long time ago. There's something about you that brings out that part of me, no matter how embarrassing or cheesy it is.

"So you gonna open yours?"

"I don't know," you say, looking at me with a grin. "Am I going to be mortified?"


"Are you sure?"

"Well," I pretend to think, and then roll my eyes at you. "I actually want your mom to like me. I'm not going to present you with a huge…"

"Thanks, Liv." You say, not letting me finish my thought as you start to blush.

"Besides," I finish for you, "You have a whole box of…"

"Thank you, Olivia." You say again.

"Well you do." I grin. "I know, I've…"

That time you swat me.

"What?" I ask you.

"You really like mortifying me."

"Yep. So open it."

You slide your fingers under the wrapping paper and slip it off. You open the box and look at me with confusion when all you find inside is an envelope. You show it to me, and with curiosity open it.

"It's a reservation number."


"But we don't have…" You look at me with a question.

"It's a hotel in New York. Every room is themed. Jacuzzi suites. It's like a miniature vacation for a weekend. So that I can see that thing that's upstairs under…"

You kiss me quickly and whisper in my ear to stop talking.

"Do you like it?" I ask


"Yes," I tell you, softly, aware of my face growing hot. "I like it."

Edging closer, you ask, "So I did good?"

"Yes, you did well, Liv."

"Good," you whisper, your breath sending shivers through me. "'Cause I can't wait to…"

"Thanks, Sweetie," I let out a nervous giggle, and smack you loudly on your cheek. "That's so thoughtful!" I say, full of drama, to wipe out the images running rampant in my head. I know we're not just about sex; we're much more than just sex. But right now, I'd love nothing more than to…


Trevor's voice makes me jump, and closing the box quickly, I turn around. "Jesus, Trev, stop sneaking up on me!"

"This is the living room. I have as much right to be here as anyone else in this house."

"Fine. What do you want?"

"Just to see what you got?"

"It's none of your business."

"Come on, I'd tell you!" When I don't answer, he continues with a sleazy smile, "Knowing you two, I guess I can imagine, although I don't want to."

"I'm not sure I follow."

"Whatever, sis." He dismisses my pretext, and turns to you. "I brought the photo albums. You do want them, right?"

"Of course, Trevor," you reply with a wide smile. Perhaps you're as surprised as I am that he actually carried through with his promise.

"Then follow me," he says, and walks towards the exit.

"Where are we going?"

"To the garage, I left them in my car," he explains. "You two can help me bring them in."

Then it occurs to me. "Maybe we can just transfer them to our trunk, so we don't have to lug them back and forth? I mean, we already know what they are."

"Oh, but the relatives haven't seen them."

"Oh, I'm sure they have. We grew up with half of them, and the other half watched us grow up, remember?"

"You just don't want your pictures passed around." He hits the nail on the head. "Especially your naked baby pictures," he adds, and laughs.

Naked baby pictures? They actually exist?

And he's giving them to you?

"Trevor!" I protest. I know it's illogical and unreasonable that I'm shy about you seeing my baby pictures, considering everything you've already seen, and that we're married. But… "Tell me you didn't, tell me you're making it up. I'm sure there aren't any, in existence. Ever."

1518 The Topic

"Come on, Allie, don't be embarrassed. Everyone has naked baby pictures. I'm sure once Trevor shows yours, your mother will happily grab his and pass those around too." I say, taking your hand and smiling up at Trevor.

With that, he's quiet. "Let's just put them in your car later." He says, with a look of both horror and amusement.

"Thanks," you whisper as he slinks away. "You seeing them is bad enough." You whisper to me, taking my fingers and playing with my ring.

"Why's that bad?" I ask you, looking into your eyes.

"It's embarrassing."

"No, it's not sweetie. It's cute. I bet you were a beautiful baby. Like ours could be."

"What?" You ask, shock clearly written on your face.

"Well, I mean, if we…" I stammer.

"You already said…"

"I know what I said Alex." I say, suddenly frustrated with you.

"So you'd…"

"I'm just saying that maybe someday we might want to talk about it again."

"Are you serious?" You ask, with a half smile.


You smile, a bigger smile than I've seen you smile in recent memory. You throw yourself into my arms and kiss my cheek.

"That's the best Christmas present you could ever give me."

I look at you confused for a second. "Alex, if it was such a big deal to you, why didn't you just tell me?"

"Because, you made it so clear. There was no way you were ever parenting a kid. And you certainly weren't going to birth one. This is… this is just… so different."

"I'm a different person now Alex."

1519 AHEAD

"So we're going to have a baby?" I say to the ceiling. Then I turn to you, and with an uncontained smile, I repeat, "We're going to have a baby!"

"Alex, I, I thought I said we'll talk about it."

"But we're going to have one, eventually?" Please say yes, please say yes. Please, please say yes.

"I guess so."

"What will we name it?"

"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" You say with a laugh. "We don't even know the gender."

"We could pick unisex names."


"It'll be fun. I can see us together, the three of us, going to the park, and all that."

"Really, sweetie." You chuckle at my excitement.

"We're going to have a baby!" I say again, throwing myself in your arms, punctuating each word with a kiss.

"You really wanted this," you state.

"I do now!" I reply with a big smile, and kiss you again.

"But having a baby meant a lot to you."

"Well, it'll be something we share, I mean." I control my excitement enough to see that you're not just asking for the sake of it. "Why?"

"And if I hadn't changed my mind?"

"I'd be perfectly happy. I have you. We're together," I explain with a half smile, still holding you, and kissing you. "But I'd like the idea of having a little Liv in our life."

"What if I want a little Alex?"

"Let's talk about it later," I decide, and kiss you again.

"Okay…" You kiss me back.

Before I decide to jump you in the hall way, I pull away and take your hand. "Let's go tell, mom."

"Allie," you say with a lopsided smile, "Do we have to?"

"It'll be the best Christmas present anyone's ever given her!"

"Don't you think we should wait?"

"Oh my god!"

"What? What's wrong?"

"We'll have to move!"

1520 Ahead

"Well, yeah," I say, shrugging my shoulders. You look panic stricken though.

"But, I was, we were going to live in that apartment until we died." You say with shock. "We own that."

"I know sweetie, maybe we don't have to move. Plus we're not doing this right now, so you don't have to make it sound so final. We could just redecorate a little."

"No," you say, resolutely. "We'll have to move. We'll have to start…"

"Alex. We're not pregnant yet."


I can feel my heart beating. I didn't expect you to react like this, not like everything is a huge rush. I feel like we just went from living for each other to suddenly buying baby clothes and picking out preschools. Is it just me or is it getting hot in here. "And I didn't say I wanted them right away." I clarify.

"I know, but it's… you were so resolute. And even thinking about them. Do you want to know what it is before it's born?"

"That's kind of a moot point right now, isn't it?"

"No, no, we have to talk about all of this. We have to tell my mother," you say, changing the subject.

"I just want to be clear. I'm not ready to search for sperm donors or anything."

"I understand." You say, but I can tell you're not listening to me. You're already lost in your own world.

"Alex, look at me."

You stop, for just a second and turn and look into my eyes.

"Not now."


"I think telling your mom's a bad idea. I think we should wait till we're both ready and then we should wait until you're actually pregnant."

"What do you mean me?" You ask with a question mark on your face.

"I'm not doing it." I say, staring at you like you're insane.


"See why we shouldn't tell your mom?" I sigh.


"But." I try to argue.

"Alex," you say my name like it's an order for me to stop talking.

As quickly as it came, the euphoria dissipated. "O.k. we don't tell my mom."

"Especially since we can't even agree on the most basic thing."

Must you rub it in? "But I want a little Olivia."

"Can you see me chasing down perps pregnant?" You ask me. "How am I going to do my job?"

At least it's not about your genes being defective this time. "Desk duty? Maternity leave? Like everyone else?" It's not like you're the only female cop out there.

"No, Alex, I'm not gonna do it."

"Why not?" I don't bother the hide the whine in my voice.


"What if I can't have children?"

"We can adopt. There are many unwanted children out there. We can provide a good home for at least one of them."

You're right about that, I suppose. I sigh.

"Come on," you say, pulling me into your arms. "I thought you just wanted kids."

No. What I want is a little piece of you that I can hold onto if something bad ever happened to you. I almost lost you once already… But I can't tell you that. I can barely admit it to myself. It's such a selfish reason to bring a child to the world. And maybe you'll change your mind, like you did about having kids in general. "Yeah. I do," I tell you with a forced smile.

Now you're sighing. "I'm sorry, sorry I brought it up."

"Don't be." Somehow your apology put me in perspective. "I love you," I tell you, leaning into your hug.

"And I love you."

"It's all right," I make my decision.

"What's all right?"

"We don't have to have kids if you don't want to."

"But that's not, but I thought," you try to argue. "I do want them, eventually, maybe."

"Shhh…" I kiss you. "Whatever you decide, whenever you decide, it's fine. It doesn't matter."

"Of course it does."

"This." I kiss you again, then rest my head on your shoulder, and let the warmth of your embrace wash over me. "This is all that matters."

1522 Sorry

That would be fine, if I believed it was how you really feel, that you would be happy with just me.

But now that I've mentioned it, now that I've put the hope in your head? Now that I've seen your happiness at even the prospect?

I know how you are. I know what's going on in your mind. You're not going to be happy with just me, not forever, whether you think you would be or not.

I don't know why you're so obsessed with me having our kids.

Why you want, for some reason, for me to be the one. I don't get it. I'd much rather pass you on then myself. Not just because of my problems, but because of what I don't know. What if when I'm sixty I get some horrible congenital disease? What if I'm prone to more than being an addictive person?

You know what's in your genes.

Half of mine are missing.

And I know that's not a fair fight, not one that you want to hear from me anyway. Not one that you find defensible at least, even if in my head, it's perfectly clear. I'm not passing myself on. It's not happening.

You feel warm in my arms, safe, as you snuggle into my lap. "I'm just happy you're thinking about it." You say, as you kiss my neck.

"I'm glad." I say with a sigh. "I'm sorry I can't give you more Alex."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm…I'm scared of it…scared of this."

You turn and look at me. "Why sweetie? You love kids. You'd be a great mom."

"I worry enough right now about letting you down. It's hard to add to that list another person who could be chronically disappointed in me."

"Baby," you whisper.

"I know, Alex. I know that you're going to tell me you're not disappointed. But it can happen. It could happen. I'm just… I'm not ready yet."

1523 TRUCE

"It's okay." I try to reassure you.

"No, it's not," you insist. "You really want kids."

"I also want us. Time for us. Time with you, alone, just the two of us. No real responsibilities beyond each other and our jobs."

"But what if…"

"What if what?"

"Nothing. It's not important," you say, looking away.

I turn your face back, so I can see into your eyes, and you in mine. "Tell me."

You try to look away again, but I won't let you. Finally, you sigh. "What if one day you wake up, and you really want to, and I'm not ready?"

"Isn't it kind of moot, at this point?" I smile, teasing you gently with your own words.

"It's not. What if," you start again. "I'm just sorry, that I can't…"

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, okay? I mean, you changed your mind about having kids. I could too. Who knows, maybe one day, I won't want them at all."

"You're just saying that."

"No, I'm not." I run my fingers through your hair. "If we have a kid, or kids, great. If we don't, that's okay. Remember the island? It'd be difficult to retire there, if we have people who cared where we go, or how we spend our time."

"But I want you to be happy."

"I am happy, Liv. I have everything a person can possibly want, and more."

"But I do want kids, Alex, at least I think I do. I just don't know…"

"Shh… You're worrying too much." I hush you with a kiss. "You'll be a great mom, when we decide together, if and when it's the right time. I know you, and I have faith in you."


"Don't be so tough on yourself. All right?" I kiss you again, deeper this time. When I finally pull away, we're both a little breathless. And you don't look like you ran over your own puppy, at least not so much. I press into you, and let my voice drop to a purr. "So, I have a question I've been dying to ask."


"When's the reservation?"

1524 Want

"It's not for a date, it's for an experience." I shrug.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you can call and set it up for whenever you want. You can book it by the room, or you can buy the experience and then book it at your leisure. I wasn't really sure which room you'd want, so I thought I'd let you pick those details."

"So we can go whenever we want?"

"Yep." I smile. "Whenever we're ready and really need a break."

You grin at me. "Let's go now."

"Alex, we can't." I laugh, as you start to pull me away.

"Yeah we can."

"We can't," I counter.

"Sure we can. You can pretend to fall and break your leg, and I'll pretend we're going to the hospital.'

"And then every time I see your mother for the next three months I can pretend to limp?"

"Sure, you could be an actor. You go undercover. It'd be just like that."

"You're insane."

"No, I just want to be alone with you." You whisper seductively into my ear.

"Oh really?" I breathe back, feeling your gentle kiss on my neck.


"Why?" I ask you, stretching my neck out to let you have better access to my tender skin.

"So I can show you what I have upstairs under my bed."

"My present?"


"You're going to get us into trouble," I warn, as you laugh and kiss me harder.


"No, I'm not," I reply, and kiss you again. "You are."

"Why me? I'm not the one who wants to be alone with me."

"Because," I say, leaning into you. "And are you saying you don't want to be alone with me?"

"I didn't say that."

"Come on." I take your hands, and try to pull you from your seat. "I'll let you unwrap your present."

"What about your family, and the rest of the presents?" You protest while you get up from the chair. "And your mom, don't forget your mom," you remind me as you follow me down the corridor.

"Well, we have two options."


"We can sneak away somewhere, and deal with the consequences later."

You wrinkle your nose. "What's plan B?"

"We leave mom a note in the kitchen?"

"Allie!" You laugh. "That's not gonna work!"

"Ok, ok, plan C. We pretend you're sick, and I have to take care of you."

"I don't know…" You waver.

"It'll work, trust me," I pull you close and whisper in your ear, licking you lightly before moving away.

You swallow audibly. "And if it doesn't?"

"We'll be in trouble?" I grin, then let the mischief slide into a slow seductive smile. "But it's going to."

"I don't want your mom to think, you know, that's all we do."

"We've been married for less than a year. We're still on our honeymoon." I kiss you again, seeking out your tongue.

"Alex…" You pull away.

Reluctantly, I let your lips go. To make up for the loss of contact, my hands reach towards the tail of your shirt. "Mmhmmm?"

"Alex!" You scold, grabbing my wrists.

Before I can protest, I hear throat clearing behind me.

Oh, shit.

1526 Surprise

"Do you two do anything else?" I hear a voice ask.

You quickly pull back from the kiss, and stare at the intruder, who happens to be your loving brother. I can feel myself blushing, even though I largely don't care what Trevor thinks about me. It's getting old, all these people walking in on us. Suddenly, running away sounds even better.

"Yes," You say, kissing my nose, not pulling away from me. "We do lots of other things. We're both very successful professionals." You say, not turning to look at him, and instead your focus remains with me.

"Jesus, Alex, get a room." He says, with disgust in his voice, as you kiss me gently on the cheek.

"We have a room. You walked into it. That's not my fault." You say, still not turning to face him.

I can see from his face that it makes him even more angry which seems to make the whole thing even more fun for you.

"I meant a room that's not public." He says, with a sigh. "Haven't you been married long enough that you should be celibate?"

"Apparently not." You say, snuggling onto my lap.

You're enjoying this. You're definitely enjoying this. And the more you enjoy it, the more frustrated Trevor gets.

"It's disgusting." He says, turning on his heel and storming out of the room.

You look at me and smile. "That's why we should run away." You say, plainly.

"But it's Christmas." I say, with a sigh.

"Exactly. We should be unwrapping each other." You say with a long kiss.

"But it's our first Christmas with your family."

"They'll get over it." You smirk.

"But Allie…"

You sigh. "All right, all right, you win."


"It's not like I really wanna win…" You kiss me, holding me close.

"I know, I know," I mumble against your lips. Why is it so hard to pull away from you?

"But we should go back."

"Yes, Liv," I sigh, closing my eyes and resting my hand against your chest to keep you at bay. "I know."

"Maybe we could turn in early tonight."

"But I don't want to wait that long."

"Me either. But…"

"I know, Liv, I know," I sigh against you, and rest my forehead against yours. Gathering my will, I stand, and extend my hand. "Let's go."

You smile, and follow.

"Sometimes I wish we were all alone in the world," I grumble under my breath.

"Come on." You pull me back into your arms. "You don't mean that."

I look into your eyes, and I see your emotions. Unlike me, you do know what it's like to be all alone. "Yeah, you're right. I don't mean that."

"Still." With a half-smile, you start walking ahead.


Stopping by the exit, you pull me into your arms. "Doesn't mean we can't steal another minute or two."

"You mean," I whisper, letting you press me against the door.


"It's so…" Wrong? There's nothing wrong about this. Not really. Then what? "…Naughty."

"Yep. Like teenagers."

When you kiss me, I respond eagerly, letting our lips our tongue our bodies mold together. We're both panting when we finally pull apart.

"Wait," I gasp, grabbing your hands sliding up my shirt.


"Because," I say, taking your lips again, catching you by surprise and using the momentum to turn us around. Before you can protest, I fit my hips between your legs and fill my hands with your breasts…

1528 Caught Up

You push me into the wall.

You kiss me, our lips melding, touching.

You moan.

I moan.

I feel my body responding to your roaming hands.

They're roving up my body, under my shirt, touching my skin.

You are taking me, not letting me up, not letting me go.

And it's even more exciting knowing that at any moment, any second someone could walk in on us.

And that's definitely wrong.

This feeling could be addictive.

This feeling is addictive.

Being with you.

Touching you.

Breathing you in.

I love this.

I love you.

Your fingers roam down my body, and into my pants. "Allie," I gasp.

"Mmmm," you sensuously moan into my ear.

"We really shouldn't be…"

"I know, that's what makes it exciting." You whisper back.

Since when did you become the adventurous one?


My lips on your neck, my fingers in your pants, my entire family on the other side of the door, and at any given moment, any of them can walk in.

Walk in and catch us.

Somehow the danger of that is seductive, exciting.

It brings me back to the cave, where you had me watching the entrance, while you drove me out of my mind with want.

I want to do that to you.

I want to know that when we're together, your thoughts are filled only with me.

"Allie," you gasp, when my teeth graze your sensitive throat.

"Oh, god," you moan, when I bend my head to trail kisses down the front of your shirt.

Your breath hitches when you see me lowering myself onto my knees.

With a quick pull, I finish unzipping your pants. A hard yank, and your jeans and underwear are now around your knees.

Carefully, I run my appreciative fingers along your muscular thighs. The same powerful thighs I wrap my legs around when you make love to me, are now shivering to my touch. To make my point, I slide the edge of my nails up the smoothness of your skin.

"Allie…" Your eyelids flutter close.

Gently, I breathe against you, and you hold your breath.

This is how you feel when you have me trembling in your arms?

You moan and bite down on your lip. Your fists open and close in need; your brows furrow in concentration. Waiting and wanting for me to move closer.

How much is from the fear that we might get caught?

Bracing myself with your hips, I push up, filling my senses with your scent, and my mouth, with the warm spicy taste of your arousal.

God, I want you.

And I love you.

And I rub against you, with my tongue, my fingers, pushing you closer and closer to the edge.

"Liv?" I catch your attention.


"Come for me…"

1530 Busted

You whisper your commands to me, my knees are weak.

This feels so good.

This feels so wrong.

But I wouldn't give this up for the world.

You're on your knees in front of me, teasing me, tasting me.

I want to scream, I want to call out your name, letting you know that you and you alone were responsible for the wonderful feelings that were running through me right now.

Instead, I realize, how close we are to your relatives. To our relatives.

To people who have no idea how entirely good this feels.

This could be an addiction, this kind of powerful feeling.

I let my fingers wrap in your hair, pressing you into me.

"Baby," I mumble.

You stop for a second and look up at me with a devious smile. "Love you," you mouth, as you touch me again.

I let my head tilt back, as I brace myself against the wall.

I can feel my heart pounding, as nervousness and wonderful arousal filter through my body.

My body starts to tighten and I lean harder into the wall.

You slip your fingers inside me and I come, the feeling of tension flowing through my body suddenly releases.

"God," I moan.

"Shh," you remind me.

Oh, yeah.

You slide up my body, you slide up pulling my clothing back on as you go.

"How was that?" You whisper, with an undeniably sexy grin.

"Good." I swallow hard.

"Good." You smile, kissing me lightly on the cheek.

I struggle to catch my breath, while you pull me towards the door.

"Wait," I breathe, "we can't go out there yet."

"Why not?" You ask, looking at me, and pulling my shirt straight.

"Because everyone will know." I mumble. I'm sure it's written all over my face.

"That's all in your imagination."


"It's not," you argue. "We can't go out there yet."

"Come on, Liv." I tug on your hand. "If we don't get back there soon, people will definitely suspect."

"But, it's…"

"It's what?" I ask, when you don't finish. While we're standing still, I check under your collar, to make sure I didn't mark you, or if I did, that it's covered up.

"I'm sure…"


"That it's written all over my face."

I laugh. "What is?"

"That you just, that we just."

You're so cute when you're like this. I'm sure if the tables were turned, you'd be dragging me out, and telling me the same thing I'm telling you now. "That I just had my way with you?"


"Shhh…" I hush, and kiss you lightly on your lips. "Really, we should go."


"You don't look like you just got done. I promise. Trust me."

Reluctantly, you follow me, letting the door close behind us. When we walk back into the room, it's as if we've never left at all. People are focused on opening and showing off their presents. If anyone noticed we were gone, no one said a thing.

No one, except my mom who looks at us quizzically and smiles.

"I wanted to show Liv," I start to explain, while you twitch in your shoes.

"That's all right," my mom says, patting you on the shoulder. "You don't have to explain. Here, you must be hungry." She hands us a small plate. "Lunch is going to be a delayed."

"Thanks, mom." I kiss my mom on the cheek, and take the snacks from her. Grabbing you by the hand, I lead you to our seat.

"I think she knows," you whisper before putting the pastry in your mouth.

"Really, Liv." I smile, and tasted my food.

"I'm serious, Alex."

"So, what if she does?"

"Wait a minute, this morning you were freaking out."

I wink at you and lick my lips. "That's different," I say, and take another bite. "I'm really starved."

1532 Proud

"That's so not fair." I complain, watching as you sink your teeth into the crackers you snatched from your mother's tray.

You just smile at me.

I cross my legs, and stare at you out of the corner of my eye, watching you smirk even though I'm trying not to give you the satisfaction of knowing I'm looking.

"Now I know why you're so obsessed." You say, out of the blue.

"With what?" I ask.

You just stare at me, raising your eyebrow. "Being… out of your comfort zone. It's a good feeling."

"Yeah. It's fun."

"Definitely." You smile.

I turn to you and shake my head. "And you think I'm out of control."

"Oh come on, it was fun." You whisper into my ear.

"I didn't say that it wasn't."

"And you loved it."

"I get the idea Alex."

"You really loved it." You whisper into my ear seductively. Suddenly, I feel like everyone in the room is looking at me. And that they know exactly what it is we've done and that now we have the pure guts to sit in the room and talk about it.

"Okay, Alex."

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Just shut up."

That makes you laugh. "Guilty conscience?" You ask with a quiet snicker.

"You don't have to be so proud of yourself."

1533 GLOAT

"Why not? I thought I made you feel good," I purr next to your ear.


"Are you saying I didn't?"

"No! Just be quiet, will you?"

I didn't think you could get any redder. "You're so cute when you blush."

"Shut up!"

"Come on, I'm just doing what you do."

"I don't gloat," you mumble under your breath.

"Sure you do. You should've seen your face after the beach, on the island."

"Yeah, well, that's."

"Different," I say, cutting you off. "I know. The main difference being you usually are the one acting smug."

"Can we stop talking about this?"

"Then stop leering at me."

"I'm not leering."

"Fine, watching, whatever." I give you a warm squeeze on your thigh, and have the pleasure of seeing you jump. "Just act normal."

"You'd better be careful," you threat, narrowing your eyes at the cracker you hold in your hand.

"Or what? You're gonna eat…?" I whisper, pausing, and not finishing the sentence.

"Alex!" You gasp.

"Shhhh!" I can't help but laugh.

You glare at me with a half smile, to let me know we're still playing. "Yeah, well, just you wait," you warn with a lift of your brow.

I swallow my nervousness along with my food. "I'm looking forward to it."

1534 Tease

When the night falls, and our day is almost over, I look back at the whole thing wondering where it went. From opening presents to the huge dinner your mother prepared, the whole day had the same magical quality that the Christmases on TV always do.

I wondered if there was a place in the world that had this happy feeling. When I was a kid, by the end of the night, I was thankful I had survived another year. Now I feel wistful, a little sad that this is now over.

We walk upstairs to your bedroom hand in hand, after your mother blesses me again for making you happy. I can barely stop smiling.

I am more than a little surprised, however, as you turn your back to me and tell me to get into my own bed.

"But Allie," I more than whine. You've been teasing me all afternoon.

"Get into bed," you demand again.

With a frown on my face, I pull the covers back and plop onto the bed.

"You know, if you keep that look on your face," You say without even turning to look at me, "it will freeze that way."


"Livvy," you whine back and laugh. "You're so pathetic," you say, walking towards my bed and ruffling my hair like I'm a child.

Before you turn away, you ask me if I want my present.

I can't help but smile as you pull it out from under the bed, adjusting the bow on it as you turn around and shyly hand it to me. Then you crawl onto the bed next to me and let your head rest on my shoulder.

"Open it," you say, as I try to reach and kiss you.

Carefully I slide open the package, and slip my fingers under the paper. "What'd you get me?" I ask with a smile.

"I don't know, what did you ask Santa for?"

I laugh, I can't help it. "Let's see if he listened."

1535 STALL

"Who said Santa's a he?" I ask, to cover my nervousness. I'm really not sure why I'm so nervous. It's not like you haven't seen me in frilly underwear before.

O.k. maybe not this frilly.

And not bought especially for you.


"Tradition? Mrs. Claus?" You answer with a laugh. "I'm pretty sure St. Nicholas was a guy."

"Go on," I urge, pushing you back, when you let go of the package to lean in for a kiss.

"What's the hurry?"

"I thought you wanted to know what's in the box?"

"I do."

"So what are you waiting for?"

"I," you start, then sigh.

"What's wrong, Sweetie?"

"I guess I just don't want Christmas to end," you say, staring at the half opened package in your lap.

"Who said anything about Christmas ending?"

"It's just, this was so different, with family. Not just me, or me and my mom, or me with Elliot's family." You turn to me and smile. "This was great."

What do I say to that? "Well, if it helps, this was a pretty typical Cabot Christmas, and I doubt things will change much after mom and Ted remarry."

"So next year…"

"And the year after."


"So you going to open it?" I ask again, pointing at your present.

Without another word, you finish breaking the tape, and sliding the paper off the box…

1536 MERRY

"Do you really want me to open it," I tease, as I hold the paper to the box.

"If you don't, I will." You smile.

"It's pink." I say, looking at the box. "I know where you bought it."

"Does it matter?" You ask, with a definite blush creeping into your cheeks.

"Are you embarrassed?" I ask you, still not opening it.

You lean into my shoulder. "A little?"

"Why?" I ask, still trying to see your face.

"Because, this is… sleazy." You say, taking my fingers in yours and playing with them.

"It's not sleazy, it's what I wanted."

"I know, but, I mean…" you stumble on your words.

"So why'd you buy it?" I ask, watching your face.

"Because, it's what you wanted."

"But I don't want it if it bothers you."

"Oh, it doesn't really bother me. It's kind of flattering, actually. How do you think it makes me feel knowing that what you want for Christmas is to see me in something like what's in that box?"


"No, beautiful. You love me. You love my body, and I turn you on."

"Yes, you definitely do." I say, trying to kiss you again.

"Open the box." You say, pushing me away.

This time, I do. Pulling back the paper, I release a beautiful piece of black silk that appears to be only loosely put together by a very sheer lace. I pick the pieces up slowly and smile.

"You're leering," you whisper in my ear.

"I like it. Try it on." I say, shoving it into your hands.

"No way!" You laugh.

"But how do I know it fits?" I ask, with an innocent smile.

"It fits." You say, with a smile.

"But I need to make sure." I smile back.

"Later." You scold, taking the box from my hands.

"Hey! I wasn't done!" I complain, trying to grab the box from you.

"Trust me, you're done."

1537 TEASE

"But it's my present!" You grab for the box.

I keep it out of reach. "So?"

"So I get to decide whether I'm done with it or not." You catch my fingers, and grin teasingly into my eyes. "And."

Looking down at our joined hands, I ask, "And?" My voice sounds more like a hoarse whisper.

"I want to see you in it."


"Why later?"


You touch my cheek with your palm. "Are you embarrassed?"

"I thought we'd already established that I am, maybe, a little," I reply, aware of my face heating up in your hand.

"Don't be."

"Can't help it."


"I don't know! Haven't we been down this road?"

"Even after everything we've done together?"

"Yes, even after everything we've done together, Olivia," I say a little harsher than intended. "You don't have to make fun of me."

"I'm not, Alex." You kiss me gently. "I'm just surprised, that's all. Besides, I think it's adorable."

"Shut up."

"I'm serious, Sweetheart." You brush my features with your lips. "I think everything about you is adorable."

"Not when I'm being a bitch at work."

You laugh. "Oh, I don't know, you're just doing your job."

That makes me chuckle. "Suck up," I scold, punctuating my words with light jabs against your chest.

"As often as I can," you say with a leering smile, then grabbing my finger, and kissing the tip. "Besides, I just imagine you naked."

"Something tells me I'm usually naked in your head…"


"I don't imagine you naked all the time. Just when you're…"

"Liv," you smile, and lean into me. "Stop talking."

"Only if you put that on."

You look at me with all the warning you would give a child who was caught with their hand in the cookie jar. "We can do it when we get home."

"I'll stand in front of the door. Make sure no one comes in."

"Liv," You say, but I can hear your resolve starting to break.

I stand up and run for the door, putting my back against it. "Go ahead, it's safe."

You look down in the box, and then back up at me. "Are you really serious?"

I just nod.

"I can't believe you."

I just smile at you, knowing very well that you can believe me. Very slowly, you put the box down at the bed and stare at its contents.

"Are you really sure we have to do this now?"

"It's Christmas."

"Exactly why we should wait."

"Come here," I urge, leaving the door behind me. Carefully, I take you into my arms, and hold you. You rest your head against my shoulder and let me hug you tight.

"I love you," you whisper into my ear.

"Love you too, you don't have to." I whisper.

"I know." You whisper back.

"But if you want to."

"You know, you have a one track mind." You say, swatting me. "Fine, go watch the door."


Slowly, I return to the box on your bed, taking each tiny step as if it's leading me to some scary great unknown.

But why?

Why am I so embarrassed?

It's not like you haven't seen me naked. I've sat in front of you, naked, splayed my legs and touched myself. For your viewing pleasure. And I wasn't embarrassed then. Far from it.

Then why now?

Because we're in my mother's house? It makes no sense.

Taking a deep breath, I release the garments from the box, laying out the pieces on the bed. Even with my back towards you, I'm aware of your eyes burning across my skin as I pull my shirt over my head.

I wait for you to tell me to turn around, to step to the other side of the bed, so you can see me, but you don't. You remain silent as every piece of my clothing gives way.

Standing naked, I pace myself, willing my limbs to move slowly, so you don't think I'm in a big hurry to cover my nakedness. Well, not like the lingerie covers much. And I'm sure your imagination will fill in the blanks.

As the silk and lace whisper against my skin, I imagine you sliding them off of me, your hands warm, your eyes filled with love and desire. The same thoughts that flooded me when I tried the outfit on at the store. I couldn't wait for you to see me then.

I wanted it, want it, as much as you do.

"O.K." I say, more to myself, and turn around.

A slow smile tugs at your lips as you scan the length of my body, inch by inch by inch. Finally, your gaze returns to my eyes.


You start to move forward.

"The door!" I remind you with a gasp.

With a chuckle and a shake of your head, you drag the chair from my desk, and tuck it under the knob. Three large steps and you're standing in front of me. "There. Nobody can come in."

"You're right." I smile, and brush my hair behind my ears to hide my shyness. "Do I look ho?" I ask with mischief.

"Alex, Baby." You shake your head. "You look beautiful," you whisper.

"Yeah?" I whisper back. Do you hear the pounding of my heart?

1540 Watching

You cross your arms in front of your chest, ducking your eyes so they don't meet my gaze. You're blushing a deep crimson, even though you're pretending that you aren't bothered by standing here in front of me.

I wish you could see yourself right now. I mean, from my eyes. I wish you could feel the way my body responds to you, feel the way my breath catches in my chest. You're doing this for me, only for me.

I take your fingers, and carefully twine them in mine, not letting our bodies touch. You look down at yourself, not at me. I feel like if I move too quickly, you'll hide yourself from me, shatter and break this moment. I don't want the moment to end.

"You're shaking," I whisper. I can feel the tremor of your hands in mine.

You don't say anything, but you look up into my eyes.

"It's nice, sweetie," I whisper. "You can take it off."

"Why?" You say, suddenly looking at me. "You don't like it?"

"No, no, I do, you're beautiful, but, you're really uncomfortable."

"I'm… not." You say, slowly. "I am, and I'm not."

"Looking at you like this; it makes me want you."

"That's the point," you finally smile.

"I know, but god Alex, you're so beautiful. I wish there was a better word. It's more than beautiful. It's god damn sexy."

You look down again, away from my eyes.

"Let's take it off." I whisper again. "And you can put it on again when we can really enjoy it."

You bite your lip. "I feel like I'm letting you down."

"You're not, sweetie. I promise. I just wanted to see you in it for a second. And do this."

I take your face gently into my hands and kiss you on the lips, still not letting our bodies touch. You whimper when I pull away, but let me move back.

"Okay," I say, closing my eyes. "That was worth it. Let's go to bed?" I ask you, as I pull my clothes off and slip into the pajamas lying on top of my bed.


Bed? Pajamas? To sleep?


But, but I thought… "Liv?"

"Yeah, Sweetie?" You give me your smile.

"Aren't you going to? Aren't we?"

"I didn't think you want to," you say, your smile unwavering.

I can't tell whether you're just being a good sport, that you don't think I'm letting you down. I definitely feel like I'm letting myself down. Why am I so embarrassed? I don't understand.

"What about you? Don't you… want to?"

"You know I do, but not if you don't," you tell me gently, full of understanding.

"But it's Christmas," I reply, more for my own benefit, I think.


"This is your present?"

"Yes, and I love it."

"I know, I mean, the giving, it's not complete."

"It's okay, Alex." Carefully, you reach out, to touch my hand. "The rest can wait."

"No, no, it can't."

"Allie? We really don't have to."

That's sweet of you, to hide the hopefulness in your voice. "I know we don't have to," I tell you. "But I want to."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, yes, I'm sure," I whisper, willing my arms to fall to my side. Slowly, I sit on my bed, painfully aware of just how little of my body the outfit covers.

You look at me quizzically.

"You said you wanted to, and we never finished, you know, me, in my bed?"

1542 Reject

I look at you offering yourself to me, and I can hear in your voice that you love me, but your body language, your posture all reek of how uncomfortable you are. I love you, but I feel like I'm taking advantage of you.

"Allie…I don't want to."

"You don't? Did I do something wrong?" You ask, now looking hurt, which is exactly what I don't want.

"No, sweetie. I, I love you too much."

"Then make love to me," you say without the resolution I want to hear.

"Baby, I can't. I, you're… it's not the right time. You're nervous, and if you feel the way you look, you're not going to be able to get into it."

"I was nervous this morning." You say, sadly crossing you arms in front of you, leaving the rest of the sentence hanging in the air.

"I know baby, Alex. If we were at home, if we were anywhere else, I would ravish you. But sweetie, I think that part of loving you right now, what's important right now, is to respect that deep down, you don't want to do this."

"You don't know what I want," you grumble.

I cross the small room and kneel in front of you, taking your hands into mine and looking up into your eyes. "I love you Alex."

"I know," You sigh.

"No, no, look at me. I love you. I love you more than… I love you." I decide, leaving the metaphors for our love alone.

"I love you too." You whisper.

"Do you really want me to make love to you?" I ask, seriously.

"A little." You admit.

"That's why we shouldn't." I say, with a gentle kiss to your hand.

"Then snuggle with me?" You ask.


"Just get into bed and hold me."

"Allie… if we do that we'll end up having…"

"No, just hold me tonight. It's Christmas, I want to be in your arms."


You look at me uncertainly, just for a second. Then you move to slide into my bed, and I make room for you.

"I love you," you whisper, your breath warm against the back of my neck, our bodies molding together easily.

"Love you, too, Liv," I reply, snuggling deeper into you, and resting my hand over yours across my abdomen. "Thanks."

"For what?"

"Not pushing."

You squeeze me tighter into you. "I love you, Alex," you tell me again, as if those four little words explain and justify everything.

I suppose they do.

I love you.

I love the protective feel of your body spooning mine, shielding me from the draft from the windows and nightmares generated by my psyche.

And I trust you.

I think I do. I'm pretty sure I do. Every fiber of my being tells me I do. I trust you more than I've ever trusted anyone.

Deeply, I sigh, letting go the inexplicable tension and nervousness. I shift again, and feel your arm tightening around me, closing any air space between us.

I sigh again, to show my contentment.

As my body relaxes, I notice how tense you are.



"What's wrong?"


"You seem tense," I comment on the obvious.

"Just," you sigh, dropping your lips to my shoulder. "Just go to sleep."

Your reaction confirms my suspicion, and fills me with tenderness, and makes me smile. Slowly, I guide your hand to rest over my heart. Immediately, my flesh reacts to your touch. Your responding stifled groan widens my smile…

1544 Slip

When I slide into bed behind you, I can feel my body pulsing. Carefully I shift my hips to try to make the pulsing cease, or at least slow down, but nothing helps. My body is on full alert, and now, here I am, holding you close to me knowing that you're entirely off limits.

It's going to be a long night.

You snuggle into me, your body touching mine, your back pressing into my hyper sensitive breasts and making the tingling feeling in my stomach worse. I close my eyes, and kiss the back of your neck, urging you to go to sleep.

At least if you're asleep, you're less available.

You ask me if I'm okay, and I kiss you again, assuring you that I'm fine. I wonder if you can hear the tension in my voice, feel it in the way I cradle you.

You take my hand and slide it up your body. Your skin is silky soft, reminding me of the feeling of our naked bodies pressed together, and the softness of your touch as you run your fingers over my aching body when you make me feel so good.

This is torture.

You stop my hand over your breast, which I can feel responding to your accidental touch.

"Alex," I gasp, as I pull my hand away.

"What?" You ask, with a smile I can hear rather than see.

"You're mean," I complain, readjusting my body to yours.

"You're turned on." You say, as if it was necessary to announce it.

"A little," I admit.

"More than a little," You whisper.

"More than a little." I parrot.

"What are you going to do about it?" You ask me.

"Go to sleep, Alex." I whisper.

I feel you turning over to face me, your head, still resting on the pillow tilts into mine.

"Alex, you don't want..." I try to stop you.

"Shh…" You whisper, giving me a light kiss on the cheek.

1545 WANT

"But you don't want…" You pull away, as if my kiss burns your cheek.

Maybe it does. That makes me giggle.


"Nothing." I try unsuccessfully to stifle my laugh.

"It's not funny, Alex!"

"No, it's not," I say, as I lean into you again, touching your lips with mine.

"Alex? Please?" You whimper. "I'm not sure how much of this I can take."

"How much of what?" I ask, feigning innocence.

"Your torture. You're being a tease."

"I'm not." I kiss you again, slipping the tip of my tongue along your lips.

"Are you…" You ask, your resolve breaking. Still, you try to remind me, "But you didn't want…"

"Shh…" I ease back into the pillows, and reach out to you, my fingers winding in your hair. "Don't tell me what I want."


"I want this," I tell you, and pull you closer.

You hover over me, keeping your body from touching mine. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Are you sure, sure?"

"Yes, Liv, I'm sure," I say, arching up to close our distance. "Very sure."

"Alex," you whisper hoarsely, as I sink into the bed, pulling you with me.

I drape my leg over yours, to keep you from moving away, should you want to.

You swallow loud enough for me to hear. "Baby…"

"I love you," I breathe into your lips.

"Love you, too," you pull back just enough to tell me.

I arch into you again. "Then stop talking…"

1546 Glow

With a final whimper, your body tightens and relaxes as you fall onto me, exhausted. Both of us lie together, silently, trying to catch our breath as we hold onto each other close. You kiss me, gently on the lips, a sweet kiss that brings back the memory of all the things we've just done.

"Love you," you whisper.

I wrap my arms around you, and hold you into me, feeling the way your skin is sticky against mine.

"Love you too," I breathe.

You take a deep breath and slide off of me, slightly, wrapping your leg over mine, you arrange yourself next to me.

"You okay?" I ask.

"Yeah," You say, with a smile that I can hear rather than see.

"What changed your mind?"

"I… I don't know."

"I didn't want you to do something that you didn't want to."

"I know."

"So why'd you change your mind?"

"Because you didn't want me to do something that I didn't want to do," you say, as though that makes everything clear.

"Okay," I say slowly. "But…"

"But nothing," you say, "you love me."

"I do."

"And I trust you."

"It's not me you have to worry about, it's your family who likes to walk in on us."

"Tell me about it," you say, snuggling into me.


In the fuzziness of sleep, I hear a series of loud, rapid bangs. When I finally wake up enough, you're already pulling on your clothes and scrambling out of bed.

"Yes?" You ask, looking back at me. I pull the blankets around my shoulders, and let you know I'm awake.

"It's about time!"

I think I'm going to kill him. With a huff, I throw the covers off, and put on my robe. Meanwhile, you move the chair out of the way.

Almost immediately, he walks in. "Did you block the door?"

"What do you want?" I feel my temper flare.

He points at the chair you're still holding. "Why'd you do that?"

"To keep you out. Again, what do you want?"

"You've got to get up."

"I am up, no thanks to you."

"No, I mean, you've got to get dressed, and come downstairs."

"What's the rush?" I ask, then turn to you. "What time is it? Did we miss breakfast or something."

"Or something, Alex, just, just go get ready."

His stutter catches my attention. For the first time, I stop and look at him, and I see that he's troubled. "What's wrong?"

He glances at you, and then turns to look down the corridor. "Our aunt is here," he whispers, making a face.

"She is? When did she, I mean, what's she doing here?"

"Mom didn't invite her this year."

"She didn't?" Reflexively, I reach for you, and take your hand. "I just thought maybe she decided to skip the festivities like she blew off our party."

"Apparently not."


"Yeah, so she's downstairs, making a scene."

"Son of a…"

"You'd better hurry your ass down."

"Trev, I'm not sure we should…" I look to you for your reaction.

1548 Plead

"Look," he says staring at you with heat in his eyes. "This is happening because of this whole 'gay' thing. Just go down there and talk to her."

"She's here because of us?" I ask, with confusion.

"She's here because she wasn't invited to the Cabot Christmas," he says.

"Good lord." You complain, as you start looking around on the floor for the clothes that we managed to throw all over the room. "Trevor, get out of here."

"You've got to go talk to her."

"Isn't your mom down there?" I ask, rubbing sleep out of my eyes. This is all happening way too fast.

"Yeah, but, Alex, you're her favorite. If she sees you," he says, pleading with you.

"I'm not going to go down there and pretending everything's okay. I don't care if she's a bigot. I'm not going down," you say, crossing your arms.

"Not like that," he says. "I'd probably put some clothes on and wipe the freshly fucked look off your face. And I'd leave her here," he says flicking his thumb at me. "At least until the yelling stops."

"Trevor," you yell at him. "Get the hell out of here."

"Alex, look, okay, I'm sorry, but I want this nonsense to stop. Just go down there and face her."

"I don't want to face her," you say, reaching for me.

"You don't have a choice. Look, it's either go down there or wait for her to bust in here, and I can guarantee you that you're going to be happier if she doesn't walk into your little love nest."

You look at me and I look at you and shrug. I don't know what to tell you.

"Can you just give us a minute?" You ask him, looking at me.

He looks at you for a second, and then me. "Yeah sure, but hurry up, okay? We don't have a lot of time until she comes looking for you two."

"Okay," you almost whisper as he closes the door behind himself and leaves us alone.


"I can't believe this," I grumble, picking up our clothes from the floor. "Son of a…"

"Alex," you say, and when I look up and wait for you to continue, you just smile and give me a hopeless shrug.

"What are we going to do?"

"I think your brother is right."


"You should go talk to your aunt."

"What's there to talk about? She's made it clear that she doesn't accept us."

"But she did get left out of the party because of us."

"Or Ted," I tell you, flopping onto the mattress.

"Ted?" You ask, sitting down next to me.

"My aunt hates Ted. She would've had a cow, a whole herd of them, if she were there when mom made the announcement. Frankly, I think my aunt just hates it when other people are happy," I mumble, more to myself. Really, it's not like there's anything you can say to change the situation.

You sigh, and tug on my fingers. "Don't you think you should get dressed?"

"What about you?"

"Me?" Your eyes widen in surprise. "I think I should stay here."


"For once, I have to agree with your brother. It's probably for the best."

"I can't believe you're saying that."

"She's still your family, Alex."

"She's yours, too, now."

"I'm sure she doesn't think so. Anyway, what I was gonna say is that you should all try to get along."


"You were her favorite," you say, and wait for my denial. When it isn't forthcoming you continue, "You should try to talk to her."

"And I think you should come with me, and we can explain to her how happy you make me. If she loves me, she could see that, and learn to accept us."

1550 Unconvinced

"Alex, look. The woman doesn't like the idea of me at all," I say with a shrug. I can't believe that I'm agreeing with Trevor. The idea makes me shudder.

"But she doesn't even know you," you complain. "If she sees how much we love each other, she'll change her mind."

For someone so educated, I can't believe you're so naïve. Rather than point that out to you, I go for the more caring approach. "I know that, sweetie, but I don't think jumping out in front of her and saying 'I'm the girl screwing your niece' is going to help in this particular case. She's not going to think it's cute."

"You're not going to say that. It's not about sex, Liv." You say, with frustration brimming in your voice.

"It is and it isn't. She'd be fine if we were just really good friends. It's the idea of us naked together that she objects to."

You sigh and pick up your underwear off the floor with a dramatic swoop. "I still don't like the idea that I have to go down there and offer myself up to her like some kind of sacrificial lamb. I didn't do anything wrong."

"Sweetie, no one said you did anything wrong." I add, as you drop your robe and start pulling on your clothes with exaggerated frustration.

"Then why does it feel that way?" You demand.

"Alex, I love you. I'll love you no matter what your aunt says. But the only thing that's going to make this better is to deal with her now."

"I don't…"'

"Remember how sad you were when you realized that she wasn't going to accept us? At the party, you were upset that she hadn't come. This is your chance to show her that while she might not love the idea of you dating me, that you're still the same niece that she loved and can still love. We're not inviting her in here to be part of this part of our lives. She can accept you without accepting me."

"I don't want it like that," you tell me. "If she takes me, she takes you too."

"Alex, I don't care if your aunt likes me."

"I do."

"I know you do," I sigh.

Part 1551

Return to Law & Order: SVU Fiction

Return to Main Page